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Chapters 12-14 Summary

Chapters 12-14: "Winter" (continued)

Misha continues to bring the coals he has scavenged to both the orphanage and to Janina's house. After a while, the gifts that Janina is in the habit of leaving for him on her back porch cease to appear. Worried, Misha impetuously knocks on the door on one occasion, hoping to see the little girl, but to his surprise, a Jackboot holding a stein of beer answers. The Jackboot asks Misha if he is a Jew, and Misha asserts that he is not; he is a Gypsy. The Jackboot slaps Misha and pours the contents of his stein over the boy's head. In retaliation, Misha pounds the insolent soldier's foot hard with the sack of coal he has brought and runs for his life.

At the stable where Misha has been sleeping with the homeless band, a man in a long black coat is discovered one morning, curled up in the straw. The man seems very frightened. In answer to Misha's innocent query, the man insists that he is not a Jew, despite appearances to the contrary. Misha goes out to fetch him something to eat, but when he returns, the man is gone.

Uri constantly endeavors to impress upon Misha the necessity of remaining unnoticed in the dangerous society in which they live. Wanting to please, the boy tries to show his mentor that he does indeed know how to avoid calling attention to himself, but he does a terrible job of it, getting bumped by a car and creating quite a commotion as he attempts to demonstrate that he knows how to walk with unremarkable confidence down the street. Contrite, Misha vows not to disappoint Uri again, and does quite well—until he sees the magnificent horses on the merry-go-round.

Misha is enthralled by the carousel in the park near the orphans' home, but Uri warns him that it is not for him to ride. The allure of the colorful, musical contraption is so strong, however, that the first time he is alone, Misha returns to the merry-go-round. When he jumps astride one of the horses, a man comes over and asks for his ticket. When he finds that Misha does not have one, he throws him to the ground. The other children scream at Misha, calling him a "dirty Jew," and Misha runs away as they pelt him with snowballs. Later, Misha visits the orphanage and asks Doctor Korczak if the orphans are allowed to ride the merry-go-round. Doctor Korczak sadly responds, "Maybe someday."

One night, Misha is awakened by the distant sound of music and rushes to the merry-go-round, which is inexplicably running unattended in the bright...

(The entire section is 671 words.)